An Afternoon In Mendocino

Since my arrival in San Francisco over two years ago, I’ve been hearing raving about the beauty of Mendocino. So, back in April of this year, I decided to make the trip for myself.

So, I rented a car with Getaround and made the three-hour drive.

Russian Gulch State Park

My first stop in Mendocino was the Russian Gulch State Park. I had planned on doing a hike here (about an hour or so). But what I didn’t realize is that it’s actually a campground as well. So finding parking near the trailhead was difficult. I think I spent the first 20 minutes just driving around, trying to find a spot to park.

So, I started my hike a little frazzled, which might be why I wasn’t super impressed with it. Which might be why I don’t have a ton to report back on. But don’t worry, the story gets better!

As I was heading out of the park, a little disappointed nonetheless, I decided that I wasn’t going to let the trip be a total failure. I was in Mendocino after all! There has to be a place I can stop and get a pretty picture.

Before the trip, as per usual, I had done my research. So I knew that there was a road near the entrance of the park that brought you down to a beach underneath a bridge. There has to be a cool photo down there, right? But I was having trouble finding it. So, I pulled over to ask for help. And to my surprise, I stumbled upon a lovely old man who made my Mendocino dreams come true.

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I told him I was searching for “the beach under the bridge”. Without hesitation, he asked me why I wanted to go there. I recall being slightly annoyed by this. It’s none of your business, I thought to myself. But instead, I said that I wanted to take some photos. And to my surprise, his face lit up! He said the I shouldn’t go to the beach. Instead, I should take a short trail out to a peninsula that gives you a view of the bridge (and said beach). He said that’s where all the National Geographic photographers go. And so that’s where I went.

He said the I shouldn’t go to the beach, but instead take a short trail out to a peninsula that gives you a view of the bridge (and said beach). He said that’s where all the National Geographic photographers go. And so that’s where I went.

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The trail out to the peninsula was lovely, of course, with its emerald blue water. I’d still say that might be one of my favorite colors.

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And my, oh, my, was he right. It was a spectacular view. If only I had a high-powered lens, to get up close and personal with that bridge. Alas, all I had was my little Samsung Galaxy S6. But hey, I think it did the trick.

Mendocino Headlands State Park

After my awesome find at the Russian Gulch State Park, I perked up a little bit. So I jumped back into the car and rushed off to my next stop: Mendocino Headlands State Park.

It’s a little unassuming at first. But you’ll soon find a gorgeous array of rugged coastline and secluded beaches that surround the little village of Mendocino.

I didn’t have much time to explore, but I’m told there are miles of trails that wind along the cliffs. Of the little bits that I did see, my favorite view was of the sea arch and all the hidden grottos.

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If you’re planning on exploring the headlands, definitely make sure to bring layers. It can get very windy. But outside of that, it’s such a beautiful spot.

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And with that said, I really need to make a trip back soon. I feel like my first trip was super quick and I can only imagine that there is SO much more to explore in Mendocino. Also, it’s a great spot for a romantic getaway. So just FYI if you’re looking for a weekend outside of the city with your S-O.

Let’s go places,
Sarah

What did I miss? Tell me what you love about Mendocino in the comments section below.

All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!

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